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African American Studies

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For many centuries, Americans of black origin were discriminated when it came to access to education and other basic amenities. Some of the reasons that caused this was the different lifestyles that the Americans lived, whereas most of the white Americans lived a lavish lifestyle and had access to all the basic amenities, there African American counterparts lived in inner cities, where crime was the order of the day and there was no access of any basic amenities like medical care, education and shelter. The revolutions that took place from the 16th to 21st Centuries however changed this perspective and most African Americans were granted equal rights to education and this is where this essay paper will focus on. The paper will provide an essay based on a one of the publications of, Floyd W. Haynes III. “Taking Stock: African American Studies at the Edge of the 21st Century”.

Taking Stock: African American Studies at the Edge of the 21st Century

What is African American study? African American study can be defined as a branch of academics that seeks to research, analyze current and historic issues from an afrocentric point of view (Norment, 2001). The African American studies at the edge of the 21st century covers a number of African Americans activists and scholars who were either affected or participated in the process. These authors wrote book and journals that focused on intellectual crisis in relation to the blacks and the direction that black studies were headed to. Black women were not left behind also since some authors came up with articles that addressed issues related to black women studies. It is however important for us to understand the history of the African American studies and how the processed has evolved with it. According to Norment, the African American studies have evolved from as early as the 19th century and this development has helped in the creating awareness and sensitizing the world on the happenings in the black community (Norment, 2001). These evolutions were known as foundations. The first foundation was the pre 1900 foundation; it was then followed by the intellectual foundation between 1900 and 1930. The years between 1930 and 1955 were the early development in the white and black campuses. These developments continued on until 1985 and 2000 which was known as institutionalization.

This was the beginning of the African American studies at the edge of the 21st Century as it aimed at addressing three main issues, the need for political space for Africans, the need for identity in the community and the need for the recognition of African scholars and professors internationally. In addition to that, the study of African studies was aimed at helping in bridging the gap between the blacks and whites in the America since by so doing this will help to revive the social, political and economic growth of the nation and the different communities. The focus of the studies in the 21st century was in the following areas, African America women, African in the Diaspora, academic excellence of African American among others.

The growth and development of African American studies has not been a smooth sailing and numerous challenges have been encountered. According to Karenga, some of these challenges include the racial discrimination that the scholars went through in their attempt to bring out the positive side of the African culture. It is for this reason that most colleges and universities offered “Negro culture and life” courses in the mid 1900’s. Unavailability of enough resources to facilitate in the process was another obstacle that the scholars had and in most cases they were forced to use the meager resources available for the study (Karenga, 1988).

The rapid growth and development of the internet communication and technology (ICT) sectors have helped in the creating awareness of the African American people around the world and as a result the future looks bright (Lee, 2005). For instance the election of President Barack Obama as the first black American president was after years of struggle and campaign by his political predecessors like Martin Luther King Jr, Jesse Jackson among others.

Summation of the Paper

African Americans have struggled for many centuries for equal opportunities in and they were rewarded when the United States of America got its first black president. This essay paper has looked at various issues that are related to African American studies. It has started off by giving a definition of what African American study is, the paper has then looked at the history of the study and the different development stages that have been covered in the study. The roles of these studies in the modern world have been looked at and how they have helped to bridge the gap in the American society. This essay paper has also discussed the impact that this study has had on the American people; the election of first black American president. In conclusion, the paper has indicated what the future holds for the African American study.

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